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  • 14 Incredible Benefits Of Merino Wool That Will Amaze You

    8 min read

    The benefits of Merino wool two kids on a Basotho blanket

    14 Benefits Of Merino Wool You May Not Be Aware Of

    Pure Wool is possibly the most beneficial fabric to our sleep quality as it creates the optimum sleep environment, which allows for more extended periods of deep sleep. Our general well-being is greatly improved through the many health benefits wool provides.

    The benefits of Merino wool - merino wool

    Before we delve into how switching to wool bedding can improve your health by ensuring a better quality of sleep, there are a few wool-related issues that need to be ironed out.

    the Benefits Of Merino Wool and Domestic animal hair that resemble Wool

    It is commonly believed that Wool comes from several domesticated animals; however, Wool solely comes from sheep. Although other animal hair resembles Wool in many ways, it is not classified as Wool. Here are some forms of animal hair that are often referred to as Wool:

    Benefits of wool: Angora Rabbit Wool

    The fur from Angora rabbits is soft, fluffy, and lightweight. Although similar to fine fiber sheep wool, Angora has a silky texture, and its moisture-wicking characteristic is superior to sheep wool. On the other hand, Wool has greater elasticity and is superior in regulating temperature. 

    Benefits of wool: Alpaca Wool

    Alpaca hair is soft, silky, and durable, but unlike Wool, it does not absorb moisture and will retain its heat within the hollow fibers even when wet on the outside. Alpaca fleece is very popular in cold climates.

    The benefits of Merino wool - alpaca standing in a field

    Benefits of wool: Camel wool

    Like Wool, camel hair has great moisture-wicking properties and temperature regulating abilities. The Camel's undercoat is soft and is used to make clothing and upholstery, whereas the outer guard layer is used more for rugs and tents as it is water-resistant.

    Benefits of wool: Cashmere Goat Wool

    Extremely soft, lightweight, and has a silky texture. It is produced from Cashmere goats and of all the hair types. However, cashmere has insulating properties up to 8 times greater than Wool. For this reason, it is sought after in colder climates, but when compared to Wool, the only downside is that cashmere is a more fragile fiber and must be treated with care.

    Benefits of wool: Mohair Goat Wool

    Mohair comes from Angora goats (not to be confused with the Angora rabbit) and has a distinct fizzy look because top layer hairs mix with undercoat hair. 

    Mohair is more robust than conventional Wool and has a smoother texture. The thickness of the fiber is very similar to Wool, and it has many of the benefits found in Wool, but it is said to be better for people with sensitive skin. Mohair is considered a luxury fabric.

    The benefits of Merino wool - the Basotho merino wool blanket mohair goat

    What makes sheep wool so special?

    Different specialized breeding programs across the continents have finetuned the quality of Wool to a high standard where Merino wool is widely accepted as the industry standard. 

    Wool farming is sustainable and has a minimal carbon footprint compared to other natural and synthetic fabric types that rely on environmentally hazardous chemicals and fossil fuels, the main ingredient for most synthetic fabrics.

    Wool is harvested (sheared) throughout a sheep's life without any trauma or disability imposed on the animal. There is minimal wool wastage, and sheep are professionally sheared to limit injury, making it a humane and sustainable farming practice. Once a sheep is sheared, it wanders off and continues its everyday life.

    The overall quality of a sheep's life is improved through stringent veterinary care, and shearing is a seasonal practice that helps the sheep shed their heavy coat for the summer months.

    But what makes Wool so unique are its many embedded benefits, some of which we are aware of while others come as a surprise when experienced. Let's see just beneficial Wool is. 

    The benefits of Merino wool - the Basotho merino wool blanket close up

    Benefits Of Merino Wool that will inspire you to switch to Wool

    Once you have experienced the effect that wool bedding has on your quality of sleep, you'll be sold. You will fall in love with Wool and will depend on it in other areas of your life as well. Let's get to the juicy part - the benefits.

    1. Wool has stood the test of time.

    According to historical evidence, Wool has been used from about 6000 BCE, with the ancient Iranian civilization domesticating sheep for both Wool and meat. Wool has been a staple fabric choice throughout history to protect us from the elements but mostly to keep us warm. In our modern times, we have not been able to create any fabric that matches up to the natural characteristics of Wool. It remains the best natural fabric known to man.

    2. Wool wicks moisture

    Wool is both moisture-resistant and moisture-absorbing, which gives it a unique characteristic that is difficult, if not impossible, to replicate. 

    The exterior of wool fibers repels moisture, yet the interior absorbs moisture which may sound odd. Still, because the fibers are made of microscopic scales coated with natural wax that repel most moisture, some moisture will be absorbed between the scales. 

    Wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture and still feel dry to the touch. This unique property allows Wool to draw or wick moisture to its surface where it evaporates, keeping the person wearing or sleeping under the Wool warm and dry.

    Wool blankets and other wool sleep accessories maintain a dry microclimate by the moisture-wicking ability of Wool that also helps to regulate temperature. Humidity from both the environment and body heat is contained and expelled through this constant wicking process. 

    The benefits of Merino wool - the Basotho merino wool blanket

    3. Wool has excellent temperature regulating properties.

    Wool comes in many types of fabric structures that influence the core temperature it will sustain. The thicker a wool blanket and the closer the weave, the warmer it will be. What allows Wool to regulate temperature so well is its moisture-wicking ability and breathability.

    These factors determine the ultimate core temperature that Wool will naturally sustain. Body heat is regulated through the dry microclimate wool created by wicking away moisture released by our body during sleep. 

    The average person loses about one pint of moisture over an 8-hour sleep. If this moisture remains in your bed, it will create a warm damp environment that will increase the temperature as the night progresses. Staying dry while asleep helps regulate your sleep temperature and Wool is the best bedding choice to achieve this.

    The benefits of Merino wool - The Basotho merino wool blanket close up

    4. Wool is antibacterial

    Bacteria, fungus, and bed mites need a warm damp environment to thrive. Still, because Wool creates a dry environment, it repels bacteria growth like mildew and prevents mites and other unpleasantries. The breathability of Wool helps to regulate temperature but does not trap heat which is essential to bacteria growth.

    Fungal spore is a common cause of allergies, but Wool does not provide the right conditions for a fungal spore infestation. Allergies to Wool are rare, and when they do occur, it involves itching, which is caused by the thick wool fibers rubbing against the skin. 

    This affects some people with sensitive skin; however, using a blanket made from wool fibers thinner than 17.5 microns or less show that Wool is not an allergen. On the contrary, fine Wool offers relief to eczema and dermatitis sufferers.

    The benefits of Merino wool - the Basotho merino wool blanket kids on beach

    5. Wool is fire-resistant

    Wool will not easily catch alight, nor will it continue burning if it does. It is naturally fire-resistant, which is a great help to sheep caught in out-of-control bush fires. 

    Wool blankets are preferred for outdoor adventures as they can be used safely around campfires and other open flames.

     When Wool comes into direct contact with fire, it will char, smolder, and burn out. Air and rail travel are made safer by using "fire-resistant" wool fabric for carpets and upholstery.

    The benefits of Merino wool - the Basotho merino wool blanket  in front of fire

    6. Wool is biodegradable

    Being a natural fiber, Wool is eco-friendly as it's biodegradable. It has a minimal carbon footprint compared to other fabric types.

    7. Wool absorbs sound

    Piano makers use Wool to cover the small hammers inside the piano, contributing to a purer sound. Wool is also used in sound systems and speakers to improve sound quality.

    8. Wool is flexible

    Baseballs are tightly packed with Wool to withstand the hit from a bat. This attests to the strength of Wool even when compacted, and it still maintains its durability and flexibility. Wool is often mixed with hair from domestic animals to add flexibility to the fabric.

    a collection of our Merino wool Basotho blankets

    9. Wool is self-cleaning to a point.

    Wool requires minimal cleaning, but regular airing out or gentle handwashing every few months is fine. Being antibacterial and hypoallergenic (in the true sense of the word), Wool will not deteriorate with dirt. 

    Dust may settle on Wool, but it doesn't penetrate the fibers, so a simple shakeout will suffice. You can also hang your wool blankets outside and allow the wind to blow the dust away. 

    Read the cleaning instructions on your wool items and stick to them. The norm is gentle hand wash in cold water with a small amount of detergent, but some blended wool blankets will have different instructions.

    10. Wool is antimicrobial or odor resistant.

    Surprisingly, Wool does not absorb odors, crediting Wool's self-cleaning. In most cases, odors stick because the humidity is the carrier, but Wool controls and repels humidity around it. 

    Airing wool blankets also help to loosen the individual fibers, and the occasional wash will get rid of any grim stuck between the fibers. Generally speaking, your wool blankets should always have a neutral fresh smell.

    11. Wool helps to improve the quality of your sleep.

    Why Wool is not more widely promoted as a sleep aid is a mystery. Research conducted by the University of Sydney and the Woolmark Company found that wool bedding improves sleep quality, which bodes well for the health and well-being of all devoted wool users. 

    The study showed that wool bedding is breathable and increases REM periods (deep sleep). Wool also maintains the optimum sleep temperature by regulating body heat. In winter, Wool keeps you warm, and in summer, it will keep you cool, making wool blankets and bedding an ideal year-round choice. 

    Wool helps reduce your heart rate while you sleep, which is natural when in a state of relaxation. The microclimate wool compliments your internal sleep systems so they can function normally without disruptions.

    basotho merino wool blanket folder over chair in front of fire

    12. Wool blankets help sufferers of many medical conditions.

    People who suffer from arthritis, bedsores, fibromyalgia, muscle aches, and pains find that using wool bedding helps to alleviate these conditions. 

    Night sweats are also considered a medical condition. Using wool bedding helps regulate body heat build-up, limiting or reducing sweating under or lying on top of the covers. It is best to speak with a sleep specialist about your personal sleep history, and you can enquire about the benefits of wool bedding.

    13. Wool does not store static electricity.

    Unlike polyester and other synthetic fabrics, Wool does not store static electricity, so you won't get shocked when you get out of bed and touch a conductive surface.

    14. Wool is anti-wrinkle

    Although this benefit does little for your health or quality of sleep, it saves you from extra chores, so it's worth mentioning. Wool doesn't wrinkle due to its coiled fiber structure, always returning to its natural shape when pulled or bent. Wool bedding will always have the same appearance and not wrinkle as cotton, and some other bedding fabrics do.

    Wool and its many benefits in a nutshell

    Little girl playing on a Basotho merino wool blanket

    As you can deduct from the many benefits of Wool mentioned above, it is truly a natural fiber worthy of praise. Sleep quality is essential to our health, and Wool promotes the optimum sleep environment critical for good health. Wool's hypoallergenic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, moisture-wicking, and thermoregulatory characteristics all come together to help us maintain a healthy sleep routine.

    Wool affords the very same benefits to sheep as it does for people. On hot days, sheep can graze for hours in direct sun but do seek shelter from time to time. 

    Every benefit mentioned above is nature's way of protecting sheep, and fortunately, the same benefits are carried over to us without being compromised. Using Wool is a form of biomimicry, yet we do not have to mimic the benefits but rather cover ourselves in the same manner sheep wear their coat to reap the rewards.

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